Like its fellow countries in the north of Central America, El Salvador and Guatemala, Honduras suffers from high crime rates and severe poverty in the wake of civil wars in the 1980s. Street gangs roam unchecked in many urban neighbourhoods while drug traffickers ply the coasts and plague all levels of the state. A contested presidential election in 2017 spurred a wave of political violence, though all sides seem to have accepted the recent landslide victory of left-leaning Xiomara Castro. Chronic socio-economic ills, coupled with poor governance and rampant corruption, are the main drivers of northward migration, which has its own perils for those who venture the journey. Crisis Group studies the roots of the country’s persistent problems and pushes for policy solutions to break the cycle of forced departure and deportation.

CrisisWatch Honduras

Unchanged Situation

Govt extended state of emergency amid efforts to tackle extortion, and congress failed to elect new Supreme Court members.

Govt extended and expanded state of emergency. After govt imposed state of emergency in Dec 2022 to tackle apparent rise in extortion, Honduran Press Secretariat 7 Jan announced extension by 45 days and expansion to 73 other municipalities across country. Head of Police Gustavo Sánchez 3 Jan said police had dismantled 38 criminal gangs, apprehended 652 gang members and served 717 arrest warrants and that this had been done with “no complaints of human rights violations”. Meanwhile, shoot-out between security forces and gang members 30 Jan left one police officer dead in capital Tegucigalpa.

First attempt to elect Supreme Court members failed. Nominating Board 23 Jan published list of 45 candidates for election of new Supreme Court members, from which Congress elects 15 members. Political tensions simmered ahead of 25 Jan vote since court members are often elected along party lines. Notably, both ruling Libre party and opposition National Party throughout Jan accused each other of planning violent mobilisations on day of election. Congress 25 Jan failed to elect new Supreme Court members; unclear when Congress will convene for new vote, which must occur before 11 Feb deadline.

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In The News

18 Dec 2017
We are worried about what might be the long-term consequences of the current turmoil [in Honduras], especially in terms of how drug-trafficking groups may expand activiti... Bloomberg

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Former Analyst, Northern Triangle
1 Dec 2017
Violence [in Honduras] is likely to escalate in the upcoming weeks since there is still no clear winner [of the elections] and the opposition its mobilizing its supporter... Bloomberg

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Former Analyst, Northern Triangle

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